Sport has always had an uncomfortable stance on jewellery – especially when worn by Black athletes

A sudden enforcement of a jewellery ban in F1 seems aimed squarely at Lewis Hamilton’s piercings

Lewis Hamilton’s glinted piercings and gleaming earrings are as much a part of his look as his afro-natural hairstyles and sharp tailoring. The 37-year-old’s habit of wearing jewellery in competition has never been an issue in his 15 previous F1 seasons, seven of them ending in world championships.

But at last week’s Australian Grand Prix, rookie race director Niels Wittich made clear that he would be enforcing a longstanding regulation banning drivers from wearing any material under their livery that isn’t fireproof. In his Melbourne pre-race notes Wittich expressly prohibited “the wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercings or metal neck chains” while allowing drivers a few races’ grace period to comply. After that, they risked a fine or reprimand.

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